Bahri Karam Khan
THE Cold War’s US’ policy towards the two rival but strategically important states of South Asia — India and Pakistan — was almost even handed. Its propensity however oscillated between the two like a pendulum depending on its own interests in the region. Given the situation, in the US’ foreign policy calculations, India figured and still figures a strategically important state in South Asia. It’s thus China peril or anti-China posture both US and India have with no cold-war’s other political constraints that have brought Indo-US relations from the period of estrangement to the existing close strategic and defence partnership between them.
And thus Washington began embracing New Delhi in one way or the other. Narindra Modi, who had his hands smeared with blood of more than one thousand innocent Muslims when he was state chief minister in Gujrat, was, for the same reason, banned to enter America in 2005. However, after occupying ‘Takht-e-Delhi, not only that ban was lifted but also red-carpet welcome was given to him in Washington —— not once but more than thrice. In his last visit to Washington in June this year, he addressed the US congress and presented rationale for Indo-US strategic partnership.
Both India and Pakistan are the de facto Nuclear Weapons States (NWS) alike. Washington however, views India a responsible state vis-a-vis Pakistan and thus supports her membership of Nuclear Supply Group (NSG) and also its permanent membership of the UNSC. But what sort of responsibility do US see in India? The Uri terror attack immediately after it took place, Modi Sarkar, as usual, blamed Pakistan for it and also the Indian electronic media had hullabaloo over it. But what the preliminary investigation conducted by its own agencies suggested was contra to the claim and thus ‘Modi Sarkar’ faced embarrassment on the score. Similarly, the Pakistani Premier’s speech in UNGA on September 22, whereby the Kashmir imbroglio was mostly focused on, unbelievably annoyed the hardcore ruling party’s allies and extremist groups to an extent that they ridiculously fixed head-money for Nawaz Sharif which the Indian electronic media heroically telecasted.
This gives rise to two clear opinions about the present ruling elite. First, it has beneath the visor of secularism, the traditional Hindu mindset or ‘Hindu chauvinism’ and, second, it is totally devoid of the sense of maturity and responsibility. Thus, it’s absolutely incorrect to suggest India as responsible state. But even then, Obama administration supports it for NSG and UNSC which is essentially part of its policy. Contrary to this, however, John Kerry, in his meeting with Pakistani premier at New York on September 21, urged him for limiting Pakistan’s nuclear programme which he however spurned with the plausible plea that Washington should first enforce similar restriction on India’s nuclear programme.
Washington also allowed India to buy most sophisticated American weaponry and technology. This decision will however ignite arms race in South Asia because Pakistan too will get similar arms from wherever it can with a view to counter India’s belligerence. On August 29 last, both countries signed China-Pakistan specific ‘defence agreement’. The Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) allows the two allies to use each other’s military facilities for checking China’s growing influence in Asia and in combating terrorists as well. Talks are also underway with US authorities on acquiring by India jet engine technology and unnamed aerial vehicles (UAVs).
Washington, no doubt, understands India’s belligerence posture and hegemonic designs in the region. And, truly speaking, it’s India’s such stance that forces US to materialize all these with the only intent to intensify India’s defense capability and prepare it for containing China and Pakistan. The US magazine ‘Forbes’ too has testified the war pact signed by both countries and warned China and Pakistan to beware about the same.
The new developments on part of Washington came to fore on the occasion when, Pakistan finds itself plunged into the US declared war-on-terror consequent to nine eleven and, in Kashmir, barbarism over the innocent and defenseless Kashmiris —— struggling for nothing more than implementation of the UNGA’s resolutions on Kashmir, and human rights violations, by Indian troops are at peak. The plague of militancy, to be true, is after-effect of the US-sponsored long Afghan war against Soviet Union that was nevertheless fought primarily by Pakistan as frontline state but the ‘victorious’ was interestingly US and none else.
But, ironically, the same victorious US, while enjoying honey-moon with India at the moment, has turns a blind eye to the heroic role Pakistan did play in that war or has been playing in her declared war-on-terror when its State Secretary John Kerry with the Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj demands from Pakistan “to take strong action to strike down terror infrastructure, networks and organizations operating on its soil” and, in this way, includes her voice with India’s alleging Pakistan sponsors terrorism in the region. And the latest news is that the US lawmakers have moved a bill to declare Pakistan ‘state sponsor of terrorism’. Interesting to note that Pakistan itself has been victim to worst kind of militancy over the past one and half decade. Hence, a legitimate question essentially arises who is sponsoring militancy in Pakistan and also what was Indian Navy’s officer Kulbushan Yadav doing in Baluchistan before he was arrested red-handed in March this year?
In Afghan imbroglio, Pakistan’s stakes are beyond doubt while India isn’t germane at all with the same. India’s concern with Afghanistan should not beyond what she has with other Muslim countries in the region. But John Kerry’s these remarks “Pakistan should not feel isolated by planned talks between US, India and Afghanistan on the sidelines of UNGA’s session in New York” is indicative of Washington’s plan to keep Pakistan aside on the issue and instead create political, economic and strategic space for India in Afghanistan. What a mockery it would be indeed’ and if a solution for the issue sans Pakistan, is presumably agreed upon, then what would be its fate? This is really a big question mark for Washington in context of Afghan issue.
—The writer is freelance columnist based in Swat.